Ultraportable Gaming Revisited

The original M11x was able to run all of our test games at anywhere from medium/mainstream (Crysis: Warhead and Dirt 2) to High and in some cases Very High details at the native 1366x768 resolution while maintaining at least 30FPS. What does the update bring in terms of gaming? Well, not a whole lot actually. A few games are faster, and some are slower as well (likely because of driver changes, though perhaps Optimus is a bottleneck at higher frame rates). In general, though, the overclocked SU7300 in the original M11x was very close to maxing out the GT 335M GPU, particularly at Medium/High detail settings. Let's start with our minimum settings performance comparison, though, and then we'll get into performance at higher quality settings on the next page.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Crysis: Warhead

DiRT 2

Empire: Total War

Far Cry 2

Left 4 Dead 2

Mass Effect 2

Stalker: Call of Pripyat

Most of the games show performance improvements, though a few increases may come more from the drivers than the CPU upgrade. Likewise, we suspect the newer drivers may also be the reason some games drop slightly at low detail settings. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 shows the largest increase, going up a substantial 76%. DiRT 2 improves 20%, Batman by 8%, Far Cry 2 goes up 9%... and the rest of the gaming results actually decreased. The original M11x was 7% faster in Crysis: Warhead, 21% faster in Empire: Total War, 6% faster in Mass Effect 2, and 25% faster in STALKER: Call of Pripyat.

The other oddity is that while the i7-640UM should be quite a bit faster than the overclocked SU7300, there are five out of nine titles where the ASUS N61Jv beats the M11x R2—in other words, a faster CPU with a slower GPU comes out on top. Alienware specs state that the memory in the M11x runs at DDR3-800, which may be where some of the performance deficit is coming from, or again a difference in drivers may be coming into play.

It would be great if we could pinpoint whether the drops (and increases) are coming from the new 258.47 driver or something else, but since we don't have the original M11x or the N61Jv anymore we are left guessing. Part of the problem with the above charts is that all of these results are at minimum detail settings, which is obviously not the intended use of the M11x. Let's look at the M11x R2 with higher quality settings, and then we'll return to the question of whether the original is really faster at many games.

Alienware M11x R2: Optimus and Arrandale Join the Party Gaming at Various Detail Settings


View All Comments

  • beginner99 - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    There is also a 13.3 timelineX with the 5650 radeon. no optical drive tough. I don't need one anyway for what?
    I think it's also the same weight as the alienware but bigger screen. imho much better bang for the buck.
  • Roland00 - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    Do you have the model for that timelineX? I can't seem to find it on acer's website (that doesn't mean it doesn't exist though). Personally I rather have a 13 inch and I have seen the AS3820T-5246 in person and I am impressed with what I seen so far (the joys of selling computers). Reply
  • bakareshi - Thursday, July 15, 2010 - link

    ppft... optical drive. Still holding on? I don't hold it against Alienware for being at the front of the paradigm change. Optical drives no longer add value, they just consume real estate and sway customers to buy who haven't realized DVDs are no longer a necessity. Reply
  • Akv - Friday, July 9, 2010 - link

    The concept of "gaming laptop" still sounds like an oxymoron to me.

    I game with a large tower with large fans, and a large 27" screen.

    I would be more interested in a review about new laptops that don't heat and don't make noise.
  • Shmutt - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    I understand that the review is done on the best possible config for the M11x R2 and thus has the core-i7 CPU.

    However, on Dell's website, it is stated that the option with the core-i7 does not have an integrated gfx. I have confirmed this in a live-chat with a Dell sales rep. I'm guessing that Optimus will do nothing in this case?

    So it was the main reason why I went with the core-i5 option. Supposedly, it will have a better batt life as discrete GPU will be powered down if not needed. I hope Anandtech can get its hands on a core-i3/i5 specced M11x R2 and see if this claim is correct.
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    Whoever you spoke with is clueless. LOL. The i7-640UM (and the i7-620M) are both dual-core Arrandale chips with Intel HD Graphics; they're just clocked higher than the i5 variants. So Optimus is fully functional. It's only the quad-core i7 chips that don't have integrated graphics. Reply
  • Shmutt - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link

    Oh ok! Damn! Thanks for clarifying that. Reply
  • fire_storm - Saturday, July 10, 2010 - link


    I am planning to buy an m17x in a week or so, is there any upgrades worthwhile in the near future?
    should I hold on this until its out if any?

  • beelzebub253 - Sunday, July 11, 2010 - link

    Can anyone confirm what the max resolution the m11x R2 will output to external display (using DisplayPort). The website doesn't seem to specify. In particular, can it display 2560x1600 such as on the Dell 3008WFP?

    Jarred? Anyone?
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, July 14, 2010 - link

    The Displayport will be able to hit the 30" resolution. HDMI not. Reply

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